from Julia: "I have only worked with Sculpey and FIMO clay, but love the results I’ve seen with the Cernit translucent. I’m not at all familiar with the optional magic mix? Is the clay not soft/pliable without it or would it still be easy to condition without?"
Julia, this is a great question and Wilna tells me I am long winded...so here is the direct answer: No you do not need Magic Mix to work with Cernit." Now the teacher in me comes out so you can understand the "why".
Wilna and I have noticed that Cernit's products have a wide range of firmness. We have experienced clay that you cannot even dent with your fingers crumble. We have experienced that same hardness condition but by simply rolling it between your hands, it forms a rope rather easily. There is a lot of what we engineers call "variability" in firmness.
Cernit Magic Mix is sort of like an insurance policy. You find exactly the right product and color for a specific task. Suppliers cannot control the firmness of the product so you may get something that is harder (or softer) than what you need. An 80ml bottle of Magic Mix would last a really long time and most people do not want to buy that much. So Wilna and I decided that we would make smaller sample bottles and offer them a tiny prices. This allows you to buy your "insurance" very easily!
In general, Cernit Number 1 is the most firm of all Cernit's products. This is very closely followed by the Opalines. The Metallics seem to be in the middle. Translucents are typically quite soft. The newest Pearl line is the softest we have seen to date. Again, in general, the age of the clay also plays an important part. Brand new clays are quite soft and typically firm up during the first 30 days after manufacture. The shelf life for Cernit products if stored correctly, is a bit over 4 years.
For sellers, this is a real issue. Customer expectations vary wildly. We had one customer who flat refused to do any type of conditioning. We gladly gave her a refund but the rub is that most sellers not named Amazon, will require customers to pay for return shipping. For small orders, returning the product can cost as much as your refund. So it is up to the buyer to determine how best to handle this situation. Why did I say "not Amazon?" Well, we cannot sell this product on Amazon due to "free shipping", "free return shipping" and really high fees. We would literally have to double our prices. We chose to bring you a quality product and the lowest possible cost with a smile!